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Massimiliano Delferro

Chemist, Group Leader

Massimiliano Max” Delferro is a chemist and group leader of the Catalysis Science Program in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory.


Max’s work focuses on plastics recycling and the development of cleaner, safer solutions that benefit industries and individuals around the world. He is also a principal investigator of the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Max earned his doctorate in organometallic chemistry from the University of Parma, Italy in 2008. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and has served as the president and program chair of the Catalysis Club of Chicago since 2016.

His research interests include the synthesis and characterization of multimetallic single-site hydrogenation/dehydrogenation catalysts to atomic layer deposition, polymer recycling and upcycling, additives for tribological applications, and supported organometallic catalysis for C-H and C-C transformation.


  • Ph.D., organometallic chemistry, University of Parma, 2008
  • M.S., chemistry, University of Parma, 2005
  • BS, chemistry, University of Parma, 2003

Awards, Honors, and Memberships

  • DOE Polymer Upcycling Roundtable 2019, observer
  • DOE Basic Research Needs in Catalysis 2017, observer
  • Omar Farha Award for Research Leadership (Northwestern University, 2014)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • President and Program Chair, The Catalysis Club of Chicago
  • Scholars of Global School for Advanced Studies, National Science Foundation, Session on Catalysis and Materials for Hydrocarbon Conversions”, Doha, Qatar, January 6-8, 2013

Select Publications

1) Celik, G.; Kennedy, R. M.; Hackler, R. A.; Ferrandon, M.; Tennakoon, A.; Patnaik, S.; LaPointe, A. M.; Ammal, S. C.; Heyden, A.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Scott, S. L.; Poeppelmeier, K. R.; Sadow, A. D.; Delferro, M., Upcycling Single-Use Polyethylene into High-Quality Liquid Products. ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, Ahead of Print.

2) Syed, Z. H.; Kaphan, D. M.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Ferrandon, M. S.; Wegener, E. C.; Celik, G.; Wen, J.; Liu, C.; Dogan, F.; Goldberg, K. I.; Delferro, M., Electrophilic Organoiridium(III) Pincer Complexes on Sulfated Zirconia for Hydrocarbon Activation and Functionalization. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 6325-6337.

3) Langeslay, R. R.; Kaphan, D. M.; Marshall, C. L.; Stair, P. C.; Sattelberger, A. P.; Delferro, M., Catalytic Applications of Vanadium: Mechanistic Perspective. Chem. Rev. 2019, 119, 2128-2191.

4) Zhang, X.; Huang, Z.; Ferrandon, M.; Yang, D.; Robison, L.; Li, P.; Wang, T. C.; Delferro, M.; Farha, O. K., Catalytic chemoselective functionalization of methane in a metal-organic framework. Nat. Catal. 2018, 1, 356-362.

5) Langeslay, R. R.; Sohn, H.; Hu, B.; Mohar, J. S.; Ferrandon, M.; Liu, C.; Kim, H.; Jeremy Kropf, A.; Yang, C.; Niklas, J.; Poluektov, O. G.; Ercan Alp, E.; Ignacio-de Leon, P.; Sattelberger, A. P.; Hock, A. S.; Delferro, M., Nuclearity effects in supported, single-site Fe(II) hydrogenation pre-catalysts. Dalton Trans. 2018, 47, 10842-10846.

6) Klet, R. C.; Kaphan, D. M.; Liu, C.; Yang, C.; Kropf, A. J.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Hock, A. S.; Delferro, M., Evidence for Redox Mechanisms in Organometallic Chemisorption and Reactivity on Sulfated Metal Oxides. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 6308-6316.

7) Kaphan, D. M.; Klet, R. C.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Yang, C.; Kropf, A. J.; Delferro, M., Surface Organometallic Chemistry of Supported Iridium(III) as a Probe for Organotransition Metal-Support Interactions in C-H Activation. ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 5363-5373.

8) Camacho-Bunquin, J.; Ferrandon, M. S.; Sohn, H.; Kropf, A. J.; Yang, C.; Wen, J.; Hackler, R. A.; Liu, C.; Celik, G.; Marshall, C. L.; Stair, P. C.; Delferro, M., Atomically Precise Strategy to a PtZn Alloy Nanocluster Catalyst for the Deep Dehydrogenation of n-Butane to 1,3-Butadiene. ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 10058-10063.

9) Camacho-Bunquin, J.; Ferrandon, M.; Sohn, H.; Yang, D.; Liu, C.; Ignacio-de Leon, P. A.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Stair, P. C.; Delferro, M., Chemoselective Hydrogenation with Supported Organoplatinum(IV) Catalyst on Zn(II)-Modified Silica. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 3940-3951.

10) Sohn, H.; Camacho-Bunquin, J.; Langeslay, R. R.; Ignacio-de Leon, P. A.; Niklas, J.; Poluektov, O. G.; Liu, C.; Connell, J. G.; Yang, D.; Kropf, J.; Kim, H.; Stair, P. C.; Ferrandon, M.; Delferro, M., Isolated, well-defined organovanadium(III) on silica: single-site catalyst for hydrogenation of alkenes and alkynes. Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 7325-7328.